A COUPLE who booked a holiday in the sun received one in a slum instead.

Angela Harrington, 62, and John Thompson, 69, planned their ten-day heavenly trip to Malta in December but received a seven day holiday from hell.


Nap time - a local gets his head down

Before they even arrived they had to cut the holiday short by three days because the return flight to Southend Airport was cancelled two weeks before they set off and the alternative may have left them missing New Year in Shoebury.

Once in the air, on flights with no food or drink, they looked forward to their £1,000 trip in a nice hotel.

Instead they were taken to a “slum” known as the Topaz Hotel in Buggiba with a broken shower, stuck drawers and a urine soaked sofa.

Despite them asking for a destination in the centre of a town with lots of entertainment they faced a 30-minute walk through a rough residential area to the nearest town centre with the only “entertainment” a small bar.

Mrs Harrington, of Blackgate Road, Shoebury, said: “When we arrived at the hotel room there was a balcony with two chairs overlooking some apartments.

“We were moved to a room with a pool view but the pool was green around the edges. However, this didn’t worry us as we had no intention of using it.

“There was a very small bar in the hotel, but when we sat down, on a long fabric seat the stench of urine was overpowering. We decided to leave and go for a walk around the town but there were so many derelict buildings.”

After a week of disappointment even the hotel transfer vehicle didn’t want to go there and they got a taxi to the airport insted.

Thomas Cook offered the couple a £150 voucher or £100 cash which they have turned down.

Mrs Harrington said: “A voucher is no good to us as we would never book a holiday with Thomas Cook again and £100 cash is laughable.”

A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said: “When Mr Thompson and Ms Harrington’s return flight with Air Malta was cancelled, our team offered alternative flights or a refund of the cost of their holiday.

“They decided to change their travel dates to ensure better flight times.

“When the customers informed the hotel that the room wasn’t up to scratch, the hotel offered to move them to another room, which they accepted.

“Thomas Cook wasn’t made aware of any other issues while the couple were in resort.

“We always want our customers to have the best possible time on holiday which is why we offered Mr Thompson and Ms Harrington a gesture of goodwill on their return.”

The couple are now considering their options but claimed they will not use the travel company again following the experience and the handling of the complaint.

A number of Air Malta flights connecting to Southend Airport have been cancelled.


Run down - Buggiba in Malta


Room with a view - The ... Hotel